Competing in one of the most important matches of his entire career, Rafael Nadal claimed the 13th Roland Garros crown against Novak Djokovic. The Spaniard produced another remarkable performance on his beloved Court Philippe-Chatrier, toppling world no.
1 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 in two hours and 41 minutes to conquer the 20th Major crown and tie Roger Federer's ultimate record. Nadal has scored 100 triumphs from 102 matches in Paris, a remarkable number that will never be repeated in the future at any Major, as it seems almost impossible to play on such a high-level year after year for 15 seasons.
It was anything but a regular Roland Garros, staged in October, with new balls and roof over the central court. Above all that, Nadal had played only one tournament between Acapulco and Roland Garros, suffering the quarter-final loss in Rome and bouncing back to conquer Paris without losing a set!
Getting broken only eight times in seven encounters, Nadal delivered one of his best serving displays at beloved Major, pushing the rivals to the limits and enduring three tight sets against Jannik Sinner, Diego Schwartzman and Novak Djokovic.
Thus, Rafa became the third-oldest champion in Paris after Andres Gimeno and Ken Rosewall, five decades ago! Nadal is the first player in the Open era with four Major titles won without dropping a set, extending his dominance on the slowest surface and earning records that will take some beating in the future.
It is the 14th season for the Spaniard with at least one Major crown, another feat that only Novak Djokovic can reach in the upcoming seasons if he stays healthy. In the final, Rafa had to be aggressive and focused against the most formidable possible opponent, producing his masterplan and leaving Novak far behind, at least in the opening two sets.
Rafael Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 in Paris for the 20th Major title.
Nadal finished the match with 31 winners and 14 unforced errors, performing strongly from both wings and stealing 51% of the return points.
Novak counted to 52 unforced errors, searching for his A-game for more than two hours and not being able to turn the tables around in the third despite a solid effort. Rafa lost serve once, and that was never enough for Novak to keep comfortable, losing his mighty return's magic and having no idea how to deal with the opponent who demolished him in the shortest rallies up to four strokes.
Just like in 2008 against Roger Federer, Nadal delivered a bagel to Novak in the opener, playing almost flawless tennis and providing three breaks against the world's leading player, claiming it with an ace at 5-0 after 45 minutes.
Rafa faced no break points in set number two, taming his strokes nicely and outplaying Djokovic on the return completely for another rock-solid set of tennis and a 6-0, 6-2 advantage after an hour and 34 minutes. Eager to avoid disaster, Djokovic saved a break point in the third game of the third set and raised his level to reach 2-2.
Rafa broke him at love in game five, but instead of building on that, he gave the serve away for the first and only time in the next one, providing Djokovic with a necessary boost that made him a contender again. With no room for errors in his games, Nadal held comfortably in games eight, ten and 12, earning a break at 5-5 after a double fault from Novak and sealing the deal with a hold at love for a massive celebration.